Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vegetable Lasagna

A couple weeks ago I lead a workshop on healthy eating. With only a half an hour to present, I knew I had to present a simple idea that would stay with my participants. What I came up with was this catch phrase: "Eat the Colors of the Rainbow." Basically this means that we should include more fruits and vegetables into our diet that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (the colors of the rainbow) because, with food, the rule is: the brighter the color the healthier it is. After sharing this idea with my workshop participants, we brainstormed colorful fruits and vegetables and how to enjoy them. I ended up bringing up this Vegetable Lasagna when someone asked me for some ideas of how to cook eggplant. This recipe immediately came to mind because it contains zucchini, squash, carrots, and EGGPLANT! (the vegetable of the hour)

Now to be fair, this lasagna is actually the brainchild of my roommate Susan, who is an excellent cook. Susan told me that she would occasionally make meatless dishes for the health benefits. Well, this colorful lasagna is certainly healthy as a result of all of the vegetables but I also lightened it up by opting for low-fat ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Plus, I learned from The Abs Diet Nutrition Handbook that ricotta contains tons of whey-protein, so this lasagna may be “meatless” but it's still hearty and satisfying. Enjoy!


  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 small Yellow Squash
  • 2 small Zucchinis
  • 4 Carrots (approx 15 baby carrots)
  • 1 medium Eggplant
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Boxes Barilla No Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 Jar Store-Bought Marinara Sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 32 oz Container Low-Fat (part-skim) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 8oz Package Shredded Low-Fat (part-skim) Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese (a little for sprinkling on top)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the ends off of the zucchini, squash, and eggplant. Slice the zucchini and squash in half lengthwise, lay the 2 pieces flat and thinly slice into half moon pieces. Next, cut the eggplant into quarters and thinly slice it as well. Then, slice the carrots, and chop the onion and garlic.

In a large pot, heat your olive oil until it’s almost smoking. Add the carrots and onions, and once they begin to soften, add garlic, and a little salt and pepper. After sautéing for 5 minutes or so, add the zucchini and squash and sauté for another 5 minutes. Then, add the eggplant, a bit more salt & pepper, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (This is for some heat. Remember, a little goes a long way!). Stir to combine. Once the eggplant has just began to soften, add almost all of the marinara sauce, reserving about a half cup. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, and then remove the pot from the heat.

In a bowl, beat 2 eggs, stir in the ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Now you are ready to build the lasagna. Cover the bottom of your lasagna pan with 3-4 lasagna noodles (you
may have to break 1 sheet up lengthwise to completely cover the pan). Then spread a layer of the veggies, cover with a layer of the ricotta, and then sprinkle a couple handfuls of mozzarella over the ricotta. Cover the mozzarella with another layer of lasagna noodles and then repeat the layers one more time, veggies, then ricotta, then mozzarella. Place one more layer of lasagna noodles on top, spread the reserved marinara sauce on top of the noodles and cover the sauce with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese. Then, finish by sprinkling a bit of parmesan cheese and Italian Seasoning on top.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 mins, remove foil, and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, and allow the lasagna to sit for 15 minutes before cutting. (makes 12 servings)

1 comment:

  1. Of all the vegetable lasagna recipies I've tried, this one is my official best! Used all ingredients listed, replaced regular salt with kosher salt and added fresh spinach and raw, sliced mushrooms. The method for sauteing each vegetable from firmest (carrots) to softest (eggplant), is very ingenious! By the end of the sauteing process, it was evident that all the veggies had the same 'bite consistency'. After the layering and baking process, all of the vegetable flavors and ingredients blended well. The result...a fantastic 'meatless' (promise, you don't miss the meat) lasagna!!

    Thank you for sharing. This recipe is definitely a keeper!